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A guide to viral charity fundraising

A guide to viral charity fundraising

A guide to viral charity fundraising

  A guide to viral charity fundraising Over the past year it’s been hard to ignore the trend in online viral charity fundraising drives - #nomakeupselfie raised £8 million in less than a week, whilst the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge raised £62,000,000 over the course of its lifetime. We have had the chance to work with some incredible charities here at Plusnet, such as the Jane Tomlinson Appeal, so we thought we’d take a look at how both your own charity and yourself can emulate the success of others by setting a trend and getting something to go viral online.

What makes something viral?

Things go viral so quickly and frequently that we have almost become immune to it, but what actually is “going viral”? Going viral is when a video or image is shared (usually on social media) by many people, and with each share the content gets more well-known, thus generating more shares until it becomes so well-known that it stops being shared.

Gangnam Style is one of the most-watched of all time, breaking the two billion-view count on YouTube alone. Even a million views might seem insurmountable for charities, but that’s not the case – Invisible Children’s video “KONY 2012” has amassed nearly 100,000,000 views despite being 30 minutes long. Igor Beuker of says, “When looking at the viral hits #icebucketchallenge and #nomakeupselfie, charities should understand that they can fuel their own fundraising by adding viral marketing.”

A guide to viral charity fundraising

2,117,415,553 Gangnam Style
789,249,693 Charlie Bit My Finger
284,436,079 Evolution of Dance
99,869,312 KONY 2012
20,539,787 ALS
15,827,260 Jacket - SOS Children's Villages
12,285,736 Girls Going Wild - Red District
6,471,005 First world Problems
3,993,405 Fragile Childhood - Monsters
1,070,839 Ohio State Marching Band

So how can charities make it work for them?

The success of the #nomakeupselfie and Ice Bucket Challenge lay in their fun, easy to share nature coupled with the implied peer pressure of it being on social media. As people took part in the trends they were able to “nominate” people they wanted to also take part, and with it being on social media, they could upload it to Facebook or Twitter and share with their friends.

Don’t ask for too much

It’s important to keep the ask short and sweet – both in terms of what you’re asking people to do and how much you want them to donate. Although a donation of £10 would help, you are more likely to get someone to donate £3, and each £3 donation adds up. The same goes for what you’re asking people to do – the simpler it is, the more likely people will do it.

What do charities have to say about it?

We spoke to Jon Smith, Head of E-Commerce at YHA (England and Wales) and he said, “Having observed the incredible success of the Ice Bucket Challenge earlier this year, and similar charity campaigns on social media before it, I’m keen to discover how we might replicate such ideas to raise awareness of YHA. Obviously, just how ‘viral’ something goes still appears to be very much the luck of the draw! But it’s certainly something we’re keen to try in the near future.”

Have you taken part in a viral charity fundraiser? Perhaps you’re doing Movember this year? Let us know in the comments.

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